May Day in The Context of Covid-19
Every year on May Day, the rights of working people, their deprivation, challenges, etc. come up for discussion. The issues of how much progress has been made from the past are also discussed. The general demands of the workers working in various fields and the demands of the special sector conditions are discussed.
In those discussions, issues like wages of workers, working environment as a whole, their standard of living, etc. get more priority. One year after the outbreak of Kovid-19 last year, it has become clear again how helpless the workers are in any disaster.
It clearly shows how deprived they are, and how shaky their financial position is. This was not the normal time for business. In the industries where the normal flow of trade and commerce has been disrupted, the workers have seen various forms of deprivation.
Many factories have been shut down, and many have been shut down completely. As a result, many workers have lost their jobs. Many employers did not follow the law properly in the case of dismissal due to closure of business, retrenchment due to reduction in the size of business.
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Workers did not get what they deserved when they lost their jobs. Therefore, in the context of Covid-19, the importance of May Day thinking is the sustainability of the job of the workers and the importance of arranging the work of the workers who lost their jobs in the disaster.
It has long been discussed in various quarters that the country needs unemployment benefits as well as a universal pension scheme for low-income people, which can ensure the quality of life of the people.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 infection last year, some garment factories in the large export sector have been shut down, while others have been temporarily closed and reopened. Some of the laid-off workers in the closed companies have received their dues properly, while others have not.
Workers have changed in factories that were temporarily closed. Many old workers were no longer employed. New workers have been hired in that place. Older workers are considered to be less productive, and more likely to receive long-term wages for working long hours. Having relatively young workers in their place will result in higher productivity, and they will be able to start anew with lower wages. That is why in some cases new workers have been taken with the exception of old workers.
Since many of the young workers in the closed factory were looking for jobs, it was not difficult to find new workers in the opened factory. But as a result, many old workers have lost their jobs. Again, many old workers who are 40 years of age or older are in trouble. Because it is very difficult for workers of this age to get jobs in newly made garment factories or other factories. But their children are dependent on the income of this job.
This time, May Day needs to be the theme of a plan and initiative to help such relatively aged workers get jobs again and help them live their lives.
Whenever there is a lockdown in Corona, the factory is closed, the workers are worried whether they will get the right salary and allowance. As the second wave of Corona continues this year, workers are already worried about whether they will get the right salary-Eid bonus.
The departments in charge of factory inspections and labor rights monitoring need to be proactive now so that these low-income people are not deprived of their dues and labor laws are not violated.
It is not possible to ensure the rights of those who work as workers in various informal sectors by law, but it largely depends on the work plan and will of the employer. Since the business of the informal sector is going through a lot of problems, many of the workers working in this sector may not get their salaries properly.
Bangladesh’s labor law is good enough. But there are many limitations and deviations in its application. May Day is not just a day but it is a day to review the good and bad, happiness and sorrow of the workers throughout the year.
Therefore, it is necessary to take initiative to help the informal sector workers in establishing their rights. Consideration may be given to spending a portion of the Workers’ Welfare Fund established for the benefit of various formal sector factories on the welfare of workers in the informal sector.
It has long been discussed in various quarters that the country needs unemployment benefits as well as a universal pension scheme for low-income people, which can ensure the quality of life of the people. Disaster insurance, unemployment benefits or universal pensions are becoming more and more important in this year’s Corona.
In this case, the issue of building a participatory fund for the worker-owner government has been discussed for a long time. The government’s social security program has also focused on developing an insurance scheme and universal pensions.
This issue has also been included in the Eighth Five Year Plan as an important goal of social security. But the progress in this regard is very slow. In the context of this issue needs to be discussed seriously on May Day. So that in the future, if the workers suddenly lose their jobs, they will not face a big disaster, they should have a system to make a living immediately.
Bangladesh’s labor law is good enough. But there are many limitations and deviations in its application. May